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August 2008
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October 2008

Presentations: 3 points 8 minutes

I'm working with a company that has no Power Point presentations.   Nowhere.   But they get a lot done. 


Because they only focus on 3 things at a time.  And everyone can talk about those three points.  Let's face it, it's difficult to recall much of anything from a complicated presentation.   But trying to say what you're trying to get across in 3 points and 8 minutes is hard.


If it was easy I wouldn't be writing this post.   So here's how to go about doing this.   Think about your audience, who they are, why they are listening to you in the first place.  Then think about these people and what you want them to remember 1 week and 1 month from now.  Those are your three points.

Next figure out how to get those points to stick in 8 minutes.   My favorite technique is to tell stories.  People tend to recall stories better than facts.    I forget people's name, but I always remember their stories.

So turn off the phones, kill the email, and think about those three points.  You'll have much more effective presentations and people will remember what you said.

Buy your pictures and images, it's worth it

Istock_000006508876mediumLet's call this an intervention.   I'm so tired of looking at brochures, websites and especially power point presentation with crappy images or even worse, the ones that come with the software.

You can do better than that.

So forgo Starbucks for just 2 days and take that ten bucks and buy credits at Stock Exchange or iStock Photo.  You can get some nice pictures for your next presentation for $1-$2.   And with a little clever searching they will project your point crisply.   Remember, strong visuals are remembered.

Next for your brochures or websites, go to Getty images.  This is where the pros hang out.   You'll pay from $300 - $1,000 for images, but they're so much better.

And if you find an image that's *almost* what you want, figure out the name of the photographer.   Do a search and drop them an email.  Chances are they have the image you need.

And finally, if you do have the budget, hire a photographer.   Nothing beats the quality and content of a custom job.   

Your company is unique, so should your face to the world.  Spend some time and money here.   

Customer Service – Just Another Marketing Slogan!

We’ve all had poor customer service experiences, and a recent one with our fitness club, GoodLife Fitness (a Canadian chain with 140+ clubs) prompted me to think more about customer service.  Sparing you the gory details, incorrectly GoodLife identified my wife’s membership and mine as expired.  After several calls and much follow up by me, I finally learned that their computer glitch created the situation and our embarrassment and inconvenience (we lost use of the club for a short period of time).  After writing an e-mail to Customer Service, I received a standard e-mail response with an apology embedded within it.  My preference was that they more clearly demonstrate their understanding and regret for the situation and our experience.  They could have simply provided a one week extension to our current membership, but they opted for a low cost alternative—the ‘we’re so sorry e-mail’—which correspondingly possesses a low amount of effectiveness.

Although there are costs associated with compensation in the form of one week extensions, for example, they play two vital roles:

  1. By providing something of value, this clearly demonstrates to the customer that they are valued.  Anyone can apologize; children learn to do this at an early age, as it costs virtually zero;
  2. Providing compensation acts as a penalty to the organization.  This usually entails a dollar cost, lost or deferred revenue, and this will act as a catalyst to ensure situations like this are not repeated.

Our experience was shared by eight fellow colleagues on the same corporate plan.  Our corporate membership is up for renewal in ten days.  Let’s see if GoodLife Fitness decides to right the wrong.  Stay tuned for an update!

Ryck Marciniak